IOM Austria visits IOM in Iraq
In June 2022, IOM Austria’s Andrea Götzelmann-Rosado, together with colleagues from Berlin and Geneva, visited Iraq to learn more about the activities IOM implements there.
With more than 1,700 staff members in sub-offices across all governorates – including in key locations such as Erbil, Mosul and Basra – as well as the main office in Baghdad, IOM Iraq works in a complex environment of lingering instability shaped by the 2014-2017 ISIL crisis, stalled processes in recovery efforts, as well as challenges in governance and legal framework, social cohesion, safety and security. IOM’s work has been responsive to the changing environment, providing humanitarian assistance during the ISIL crisis, and re-orienting to support recovery and stabilization initiatives after 2017, while many IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) still faced and continue to face obstacles to return.
Meetings in Baghdad and Erbil focused on exchange with colleagues working on protection, migration management, transition and recovery, preparedness and response, displacement tracking and research. In Shirqat, the delegation visited IOM’s Eitha Community Center and participated in discussions with women who had received legal as well as psychosocial support. “Thanks to IOM, my children now have legal documents and can go to school. This gives us hope,” one woman told the visitors.
In Kabarto, the delegation met with the local NGO “Better World Organization for Community Development” (BWO), which participated in IOM’s capacity building programme initiated in an effort to transition from emergency response to stabilization programming, shifting focus from direct service delivery to strengthening capacities of local actors. Today, BWO works together with IOM to provide mental health and psychosocial support to IDPs. “For us, that was a game changer,” said BWO Director Walaa Musheer Ahmed. “We were trained to provide psychosocial support, which is much needed here.”
“It was impressive to see the range of activities that IOM implements in Iraq,” said Götzelmann-Rosado upon her return, “but what stuck out most were the people we met. They have suffered so much and face many obstacles, and the relevance of continuous support to them was evident. It is a visit I will never forget.”
This article was also published in our June 2022 Newsletter.